Mark 14:53-65 – Jesus Before the Council

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Mark 14:53

  1. Jesus was interrogated three times by the religious courts and three times by the political courts. The Jews had no right to carry out the death penalty and therefore had to bring the Romans into line (John 18:31).

Mark 14:55-56

  1. The Jewish leadership had long since decided to get Jesus out of the way (Mark 3:6) and had tried and failed countless times to entrap Jesus in order to have some valid reason to condemn him to death (Mark 8:11, Mark 10:2, Mark 12:13).
  2. The “Great Council”, also called the Sanhedrin, consisted of 71 members of scribes, elders, etc.
  3. In order to sentence someone to death according to the Law of Moses, the Great Council needed at least two consistent testimonies, but undeniably they had a hard time making the stories fit together (Deuteronomy 17:6).

Mark 14:57-58

  1. Jesus did say that the temple would be broken down and that he would rebuild it in three days, but it was his own body he was referring to when he said “temple” (John 2:19-22).
    1. Jesus’ accusers falsely add the words “built with hands” to make it look like Jesus is a terrorist who plans to destroy the temple of the Jews.

Mark 14:60

  1. Jesus could have defended himself by either answering his accusers (Luke 20:26), by calling down angels to his defense (Matthew 26:53) or by showing himself in his radiant glory (Mark 9:2), but he knows that the Jewish leadership has already decided to kill him (Mark 3:6) and he also knows that his mission is to die for humanity (John 15:13). Therefore, should Jesus begin to argue against it, the leadership would not be able to kill him and he would risk his mission.
  2. Jesus is silent, thus fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Isaiah: “He was beaten, but he humbled himself and did not open his mouth. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, like a sheep that is silent before those who shear it, he did not open his mouth.” (Isa 53:7).
  3. Peter, with this incident in mind, teaches that Christians should not retaliate on such occasions but instead “surrender their cause to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Mark 14:61-62

  1. “Messiah” is Hebrew and means “the anointed one”
    1. In Old Testament times, it was common for God’s representatives to be anointed with oil to symbolize that they were chosen by God and sanctified for a specific mission.
      1. David was anointed king (1 Sam 16:1-13).
      1. Aaron was anointed a priest (Leviticus 8:12).
      1. Elisha was anointed a prophet (1 Kings 19:16).
    1. As the Messiah, Jesus is all three:
      1. Jesus is King (Matthew 27:11).
      1. Jesus is a priest (Heb 6:20).
      1. Jesus is a prophet (John 12:49).
    1. Zechariah prophesied of a “son” who would be king and priest at the same time and who would build the temple of the Lord (Zech 6:12-13).
    1. The Jewish people waited for the Messiah to come and forcibly drive out the Romans and re-establish Israel as a powerful nation.
    1. Jesus is the Messiah who has established the Kingdom of God, not as a worldly nation, but as a spiritual nation.
  2. Jesus’ answer “I am” means either that Jesus simply answered the high priest’s question in the affirmative or that while he openly declared himself to be the Messiah, he also used God’s name “I Am” (Exodus 3:14) to reveal his true identity.
    1. Judging by the reaction of the High Priest, it certainly seems that he did not just answer in the affirmative. If Jesus had wanted to answer the question in the affirmative, he could have answered “yes”.
    1. According to John, Jesus has also pronounced God’s name “I Am”, among other things, at his arrest (John 18:6).
  3. That the Son of Man would sit at the right hand of power (Ps 110:1) and come among the clouds of heaven (Dan 7:13-14) shows that although it is Jesus who stands accused, it is really he who has the power and eventually he will judge those who now judge him.
    1. Just before his death, Stephen saw Jesus at God’s right hand in heaven (Acts 7:54-56).

Mark 14:63-64

  1. The high priest’s reaction to accusing Jesus of blasphemy may be due to two things (or both at the same time):
    1. Either the high priest believes that Jesus has blasphemed God’s name “I Am” and therefore, according to the Law of Moses, should be condemned to death (Leviticus 24:16).
      1. This would indeed be blasphemy unless the claim is true; that Jesus is indeed “I Am” (John 8:24, John 8:58).
    1. Or the high priest believes that Jesus has taken the role that only God has when he claims that he will sit at the right hand of power and thus blaspheme (Mark 2:7).
  2. Jesus identifies himself with God both by using the name of God and by using the role that only God has.
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